Mouth protractile, forming a sucking disc (lips enlarged); jaw teeth present, numerous and small; predorsal spine present. Superficially resemble the cyprinid Labeo. Maximum length 74 cm TL., attained in Prochilodus lineatus.
Three genera, Ichthyoelephas (2), Prochilodus (13), and Semaprochilodus (6), with about 21 species (Vari, 1983; Castro and Vari, 2003).
Unnamed clade of Family ANOSTOMIDAE + Family CHILODONTIDAE. Mandible relatively short; upper and lower pharyngeal dentition enlarged; two or more cusps on all pharyngeal teeth; single tooth row on each jaw.
Many of the species swim in an oblique head-down position, hence the common name headstanders for the group. Most species are herbivores or detritovores.
The two families recognized here are thought to form a monophyletic clade (Vari, 1983).
Family ANOSTOMIDAE (113)—toothed headstanders. Freshwater; southern Central America and South America.
Mouth small, nonproctractile (upturned in many species); series of only three or four teeth in upper and lower jaws; premaxilla (especially the ascending process) enlarged, much larger than the maxilla (which is excluded from the gape), and with enlarged teeth; body usually elongate; anal fin short, usually with fewer than 11 branched rays. Maximum length 80 cm SL.
Twelve genera, Abramites (2), Anostomoides (2), Anostomus (7), Gnathodolus (1), LLaemolyta (10), Leporellus (3), Leporinus (87), Pseudanos (3), Rhytiodus (4), Sartor (3), Schizodon (14), and Synaptolaemus (1), with at least 137 species (Garavello and Britski, 2003).
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